In addition to his work as a composer, Bartók was a passionate collector and arranger of folk music, even going as far as entrusting his collecting tours to others, much the way performing artists depend on agents and impresarios. He dedicated the six Romanian Folk Dances here to one such "agent," Ioan Busitia, who was also a friend. While these dances constitute a modest set, they are well-crafted, soulful, and charming, making their dedication a meaningful by the composer.
This first work in the set, "Stick Dance," which lasts just over a minute, is the longest of the six. Like the other dances, it is a fairly straightforward rendering of the folk tune but features original harmonies. According to Bartók, the theme, which came from the Maros-Torda section of Transylvania, was first presented to him in a performance by two Gypsy violinists. It is a somewhat stiff melody, not as danceable as the title might suggest, but its elegant, almost stately folkish manner gives it a colorful and appealing charm.